Football team hindered by absences before spring game

Maddy Arnold

With another week of practice and a scrimmage still left to play before the end of its spring training, ISU football is already without key players on both sides of the ball.

In most cases, injury or illness has forced members of the ISU football team to miss time at some point during spring season. As a result, Iowa State will head into the Cyclone Gridiron Club spring game April 12 without many of its notable players.

“[Our health is] not good enough but not awful. You got the guys that were out going into it but you miss them,” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads. “The defensive tackle position is one of our thinnest and we’re really thin right now.”

The defensive tackles have already been without seniors David Irving and Rodney Coe this spring. Irving has been unable to participate in spring practice after a shoulder surgery and Coe was dismissed from the team in March for violating team rules.

But those are not the only two out at defensive tackle. Redshirt sophomore Pierre Aka has not been able to practice for the last week after suffering a concussion.

“David [Irving] potentially is an all-league type of player. He has that kind of talent. David’s going into his true senior year. He’s only participated in one spring practice. That is why his development is not what it could’ve been had he be been healthy and we redshirted him and so forth. But they’re proven players and we’ll be anxious to have them back,” Rhoads said.

But the defensive tackles are not the only position group who is struggling with absences this spring. The wide receivers have one notable player out at their position.

Redshirt sophomore Dondre Daley — who started five games and had 13 catches last season for Iowa State — is missing time because of a sprained ankle. Rhoads said he does not know if Daley will be able to return this week.

“With suspensions and guys dinged up, in and out, and moving guys around, trying to get three units out there, when we’re in multiple sets with a lot of receivers. I think there’s some good things going on there. I think probably more than anything right now it’s the little things,” said offensive coordinator Mark Mangino.

Some other noteworthy players who are missing time during spring practice are junior college transfer Devron Moore and left tackle Brock Dagel. Rhoads said Moore, who is a junior safety, is homesick and at home. It is unclear whether he will return.

Dagel — a junior left tackle — cut his leg open last week and received an infection. Rhoads said Dagel will be out for the rest of spring practice and that redshirt freshman Jake Campos is playing with the first string in his absence.

“I’ve been very pleased with those top two units that includes Jake Campos and Ryan Glenn, a redshirt freshman, that are up running with those guys,” Rhoads said. “Both those kids have transitioned very well.”